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Best Online Degrees in: Nursing

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Nursing

Pennsylvania State University is the winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for value. According to, it is No. 129 out of 1,248 schools ranked for value. It has a return on investment (ROI) for in-state students of 8.8% without financial aid, and 10.0% with financial aid. Out-of-state students can expect an ROI of 7.6% without financial aid and 8.4% with financial aid.

The award for best flexibility goes to Kaplan University. Kaplan provides its students with a variety of online course options and flexible scheduling. Busy students can complete course work on their own time, rather than attending class on a strict schedule. In addition, Kaplan University received an A+ ranking in flexibility from student reviews on College Prowler.

Career Support
Western Governors University provides career help for students and alumni. It received an A ranking in career services from student reviews on College Prowler. It provides career searches, resume assistance, and internship opportunities. Because Western Governors University is dedicated to helping students and alumni establish their careers, it is our winner for best career support.

Financial Support
Western Governors University is the winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for financial support. Student reviews on College Prowler give Western Governors University an A+ ranking for tuition and financial aid. In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 88% of first-time, full-time Western Governors University students receive some form of financial aid, while 52% of all undergraduates receive a scholarship or grant.

Technology Support
Arizona State University is ranked No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student services and technology. It provides live video streaming and a smartphone app for on-the-go access to student services. The university also offers technical support specifically for its online students. It is therefore our winner for best technology support.

Student Engagement
Ferris State University is committed to providing classes that are taught by professors who care about students' individual needs, which is why it has earned a No. 21 ranking on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student engagement and assessment. At Ferris State University, faculty members hold weekly office hours and track student sign-ins to the class portal, both of which encourage students to participate in their classes. It is therefore the winner of the best nursing bachelor's degree for student assessment.

Disability Support
Northeastern University has a disability resource center where students can download forms, get information on accommodations, and keep current on news. Its dedication to providing exceptional disability services has earned Northeastern University a ranking of No. 5 on the Huffington Post‘s list of the best schools for learning disability programs. It is therefore our winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for disability support.

Library and Research Support
The winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for library and research support goes to Arizona State University. Its library website provides students with the opportunity to utilize tutorials to help with the research process. Students can also search journals and catalogs. In addition, the library has a mobile version of its website, which makes it easy to access on-the-go.

Learning Support
Ranked No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student services and technology, Arizona State University is our winner for learning support. At Arizona State University, online students have access to live tutoring and live streaming video. They can also seek advising and career placement assistance.

Faculty Credentials
At Arizona State University, 79% of online instructors have two or more years of online teaching experience. In addition, the university finances training in online education. Due to its dedication to having a well-trained and experienced faculty body, Arizona State University is ranked No. 37 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best online schools for faculty credentials. It is also our winner for the best online nursing bachelor's degree for faculty credentials.

Faculty Accessibility
Ferris State University is ranked No. 21 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student engagement and assessment, due to its strong faculty accessibility. At Ferris State University, professors hold four office hours weekly and monitor student sign-ins to their online classes. Class sizes are kept small, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. As a result, Ferris State University is the winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for faculty accessibility.

Alumni Engagement
Pennsylvania State University is the winner of the best online nursing bachelor's degree for alumni engagement, due to its extensive alumni events and opportunities, which are outlined on its website. Pennsylvania State University alumni can access career assistance, publications, networking opportunities, and special events. Penn State's alumni association can also be found on multiple social networking websites.

Prior Learning Options
Pennsylvania State University understands that not all learning takes place in the classroom. Students enrolled in Pennsylvania State University offers college credit for exams, like AP and CLEP, credit for military training, and credit for vocational training, according to its website. Students can also petition for credit from life experiences by developing a portfolio to showcase learning. Pennsylvania State University is therefore our winner for best prior learning options.

New Online Student Orientation
For students who cannot attend orientation on the physical campus, Arizona State University provides an online orientation. It consists of videos and resources to help students acclimate to online learning. Arizona State University is therefore our winner of best new online student orientation.

Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

Nurses coordinate patient care, treat patients, and communicate treatment procedures, advice, and emotional support to patients and their family members. They're required to be organized, communicative, and level-headed under pressure. Nurses may work nights, weekends, and holidays at any shift, and may be on call. About 48% of nurses work in private, general medical and surgical hospitals. Other responsibilities include observing patients, consulting with doctors and healthcare professionals, and operating medical equipment.

Class Curriculum

Prerequisite courses may be required in nutrition, statistics, biology, and human anatomy and physiology. Degree-specific course work cover health assessment, human needs and experience in health and common illnesses, and professional nursing practice. Most bachelor's degree programs emphasize communication, critical thinking, and the physical and social sciences. The following are specific examples of courses commonly required in nursing bachelor's degree programs:

  • Health Assessment. Health Assessment covers basic concepts in communication, safe practices, and health promotion. Nurses learn procedures for obtaining health history data and conduct a psychomotor physical assessment.
  • Pharmacology. Pharmacology covers the nurse's responsibilities when administering drugs and monitoring a client receiving medication. Students study the effects of drugs on the central nervous system, respiratory tract, and metabolic and endocrine functions.
  • Human Needs/Experience.Human needs or experience covers disease prevention, health maintenance, and common illnesses. Students study the biological, psychological, cultural, spiritual, environmental, and developmental factors of patient health.

Course work in a nursing degree program will focus on patient data collection, including physical assessments, pain assessments, and patient care, as well as medication tables and laboratory reports. Students will learn how to perform various procedures in labs, such as catheter removal and insertion, blood draws, and starting IVs. Assignments will also familiarize nursing students with medical terminology and basic medication dosage calculations.

Building a Career

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for registered nurses is $64,690. Employment for registered nurses is expected to increase by 26%. A nurse's salary depends on a number of factors. For instance, median pay varies depending on work environment since nurses who work in private, general medical and surgical hospitals tend to have a higher pay than nurses who work in home health care services.

Nurses are required to obtain licensure by graduating from an approved nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Further requirements may vary by each state's board of nursing. Nurses may also gain certification through professional associations, including, ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics. Nurses may advance to management positions as assistant unit manager or head nurse, and further, into assistant director, director, vice president, or chief of nursing positions. Nurses may become advanced practice registered nurses by completing master's degree programs and meeting all other state regulations. Advanced practice registered nurses may work independently or collaborate with physicians to provide primary care and prescribe medications.